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Is The U.S.-North Korea Summit Back On? Dangerous Flash Flooding In Maryland; Ireland Votes To End Abortion Ban; New Volcano Evacuations In Hawaii. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired May 28, 2018 - 05:30   ET


[05:32:03] DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking overnight, flash floods washing away part of a Baltimore suburb. Ellicott City completely underwater for the second time in almost two years.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're looking at June 12th in Singapore -- that hasn't changed.


ALISON KOSIK, CNN ANCHOR: New efforts to revive the summit with North Korea. A U.S. team on the ground in North Korea. So who blinked, the president or Kim Jong Un?

BRIGGS: And while the president hypes unfounded claims of a spy in his campaign, his lawyer admits it's a tactic and blames the special counsel.


RUDY GIULIANI, ATTORNEY FOR PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: And they're giving us the material to do it. Of course, we have to do it in defending the president. It is for public opinion.


BRIGGS: It's almost stunning transparency from Rudy Giuliani.

Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Dave Briggs.

KOSIK: Good morning, I'm Alison Kosik. It's 30 minutes past the hour.

And just like that, the summit between the U.S. and North Korea may be back on.

An American delegation traveled to North Korea Sunday for talks to prepare for a possible meeting between President Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. That delegation will focus on the substance of the talks. Another team of U.S. officials focused on summit logistics left for Singapore this weekend.

BRIGGS: Both moves among the signs a summit may be back on track after President Trump abruptly pulled out last week.

There was also this comment from the president.


TRUMP: I think there's a lot of goodwill. I think people want to see if we can get the meeting and get something done. It's moving along very nicely, so we're looking at June 12th in Singapore -- that hasn't changed.


BRIGGS: All right. For the latest, let's check in with Matt Rivers, live in Seoul.

Matt, what has changed here?

MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Dave, the latest news certainly is the fact that that American delegation went to the DMZ today -- the area between North and South Korea -- went to the North Korean side to meet with their counterparts over there.

Interesting that the American side is being led by Ambassador Sung Kim, currently the U.S. ambassador in the Philippines but he used to be the ambassador here to South Korea. And prior to that, he was a key part of the negotiations during the six-party talks with the North Koreans back in the mid-2000s. So that's the big headline here.

But in terms of how we got here after the president canceled the meeting, clearly there was a lot of behind-the-scenes diplomacy being led by the South Koreans. So you had that surprise meeting between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the DMZ, right in the same area where the Americans and North Koreans are currently talking right now.

And that meeting really paved the way here for -- that meeting was all about trying to get this summit in Singapore to happen. It shows you that the South Koreans are playing this third-party role here of making sure this happens.

And that could come, some say, at the expense of the Chinese. The Chinese government has certainly been working with the North Koreans behind the scenes to try and make sure their strategic interests are at play.

And you have to wonder how this changes all of this, especially given what's going on in the South China Sea right now. It might seem not connected with the Americans recently conducting a Freedom of Navigation Operation (FONOP) down there, but all of these things happening -- they're all combined in one way or another.

[05:35:12] What happens in the South China Sea, believe it or not, has an effect on these North Korean negotiations.

BRIGGS: Indeed. It's all connected -- all right.

Matt Rivers live for us in Seoul this morning, thank you.

KOSIK: OK. Joining us to discuss all of this, Sarah Westwood. She's the CNN White House reporter. Welcome back and thanks for getting up so early on this holiday.


KOSIK: So let us show this picture of the South Korean leader and the North Korean dictator hugging it out because they met over the weekend and I think there's this sort of who --

BRIGGS: That is an awkward embrace right there.

KOSIK: It is -- it is awkward and I would say unprecedented at this point.

BRIGGS: Well, that's a murderer. That's a killer.


BRIGGS: That's a human rights abuser, arguably the worst in the world. Sorry to interrupt, Alison.

KOSIK: No, that's quite all right. I completely -- I completely agree with you.

BRIGGS: I couldn't believe it.

KOSIK: I cannot disagree.

But, you know, we're watching all of these leaders kind of fight for who's influencing this process more, and then we've got President Trump who insists that June 12th is on track to go ahead.

But here's the thing. No one has really defined denuclearization. Let's talk about the substance of this.

And then, Sen. Marco Rubio questioned the motives here. Listen to this.


SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: Ultimately, I remain convinced that he does not want to denuclearize. In fact, he will not denuclearize. But he wants to give out this perception that he's this open leader, that he's peaceful, that he's reasonable.


KOSIK: OK, so he's obviously referring to Kim Jong Un, a dictator.

WESTWOOD: That's right. That's sort of one of the many concerns that you are hearing from bipartisan groups of lawmakers, one of them that Kim Jong Un's aim is just to legitimize himself on the international stage by appearing alongside Trump. That all Kim Jong Un really wants is the photo opportunity. That there's no real opening here for the U.S. to negotiate denuclearization.

Another fear is that President Trump is rushing into this meeting without first laying the groundwork for what the U.S. expects out of the North Koreans. That Trump is rushing because he wants to notch a political victory because he is seeing his approval ratings rise as he is more in the public eye dealing with North Korea. These are all fears that the administration really hasn't addressed.

And now, we're starting to see some of those internal divisions spill out into the open when you have senior administration officials telling reporters that that June 12th date, which is just 15 days away, is too soon to sit down with Kim Jong Un because there's a lot of ground to cover between the U.S. and the North Koreans between now and then.

And you have Trump out there saying that June 12th is one track as if he never canceled the summit in the first place.

BRIGGS: Yes. It makes for great television. You just wonder does it make for great foreign policy when we're talking about nuclear weapons.

The further notion of when this will happen, is it too soon -- two weeks from tomorrow, the president blasted the press in "The New York Times" about that notion, saying this on Twitter.

"The failing New York Times quotes a senior White House official who doesn't exist as saying even if the meeting were reinstated, holding it on June 12 would be impossible."

The truth is, this was part of a background briefing for several reporters.

David Sanger from "The New York Times" pointed this out for the public on his own Twitter feed saying, "The reason that this official was not named in our story is that the White House press office insisted that its briefing for hundreds of reporters was on background."

Sarah, does the president know what background briefings are or does he care? Is it all about the narrative of fake news?

WESTWOOD: This is a particularly brazen attack from President Trump because this source -- this White House source that "The New York Times" quoted was someone authorized to speak on behalf of the administration. Someone who was put before a group of many reporters, many witnesses, to deliver what was ostensibly the White House's official message on North Korea.

So, for President Trump to attack someone who was speaking in that capacity, that goes beyond what we've seen from President Trump using his platform to try to undermine the press by going after their use of anonymous sources.

And it's just a clear example of those internal divisions that still remain about North Korea when you do have the official line deviating from things that President Trump is saying off the cuff about the likelihood that that June 12th summit will take place.

KOSIK: OK. The weekend not just dominated by North Korea but by the Mueller investigation.

Rudy Giuliani, the president's lawyer, asked by CNN's Dana Bash on Sunday whether there was a larger strategy to undermine the -- undermine the investigation at play. Giuliani didn't deny it. He said this -- listen.


GIULIANI: They're giving us the material. I couldn't do it if I didn't have the material. Of course, we had to do it in defending the president.

We're defending -- to a large extent -- remember, Dana, we're defending here -- it is for public opinion because eventually, the decision here is going to be impeach-not impeach.

Remember, the Congress, Democrat and Republican, are going to be informed a lot by their constituents, so our jury is the American -- as it should be, is the American people.


[05:40:03] KOSIK: First of all, why is Giuliani being so transparent with this strategy? Does he really think the public is that stupid?

WESTWOOD: Well, Rudy Giuliani is saying something out loud that I think many Republicans may have been thinking to themselves. Democrats have certainly been accusing them of trying to exploit some of these -- some of these tactics that the FBI used and the public's unfamiliarity with them to Trump's gain.

It appears by what Giuliani said that the president's legal team is trying to use the FBI's use of a confidential source and all of the other pieces that we've seen emerge from congressional oversight to inoculate President Trump against any legal findings that Mueller might have at the end of this investigation that puts President Trump at risk politically.

Now in the court of public opinion, the Trump administration will have laid the groundwork to call this investigation illegitimate if it does produce any findings against President Trump.

BRIGGS: Truth be told, we're just not used to truth so when we hear it, it's stunning.

KOSIK: I know, that's why we're a little skeptical.

BRIGGS: I mean, we're used to, in fact, the exact opposite.

Sarah Westwood, appreciate you being up this morning. Thank you.

WESTWOOD: Thank you.

KOSIK: Thanks so much.

All right, I want to take a live look now this morning at Arlington National Cemetery. A day of events is planned to honor American heroes on this Memorial Day.

The U.S. Army Military District of Washington will conduct a full wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, followed by an observance program hosted by the Defense Department.

President Trump is proclaiming this Memorial Day a day of prayer for permanent peace.

BRIGGS: All right. Breaking overnight, a state of emergency declared in Howard County, Maryland after a massive storm slammed the Baltimore region triggering flash flooding in Ellicott City. Cars swept up in a wave of brown water rushing through the city's historic Main Street.

Eight inches of rain fell in just a few hours. It sent the nearby Patapsco River to record-breaking depths. In some areas, water levels reached above the first floor of buildings, as you can see there.

At one point sheriff's deputies moved a CNN crew and others in the area due to a suspected gas leak.

Multiple rescues were required. The rushing water so powerful that it left these cars completely upended.


PAT HIBAN, RESIDENT, ELLICOTT CITY, MARYLAND: The floor was flooding with water. Water was coming in through the walls.

PHILEMON KENDZIERSKI, RESIDENT, ELLICOTT CITY, MARYLAND: It's hard to see. Every time it rains here the community's heart stops and I just -- I don't know what we're going to do but I can tell you that Ellicott City is the strongest community I've ever been a part of and we're going to rebuild this place the best we can.


BRIGGS: Indeed. This is coming barely two years after the city was ravaged by another flood.

KOSIK: All right. Gas prices at their highest this holiday weekend, the highest we've seen in four years. What's behind the spike and will those prices come down?


[05:47:14] KOSIK: Welcome back.

Ireland voting decisively to amend the country's constitution, repealing one of the world's most restrictive abortion bans. The historic and emotionally-charged referendum passed by a two to one margin. The focus now shifting to Northern Ireland.

CNN's Atika Shubert is live for us in Dublin to tell us why. Good morning, Atika.


I mean, it was just a tremendous weekend here, you know. This incredible energy as Ireland voted to legalize abortion.

And one of the things I noticed sitting in Dublin Castle was this huge banner that said "The North Is Next." And you're absolutely right, that's where attention is shifting.

You know, campaigners here really want to build on the momentum that they have from this vote to pressure Britain to liberalize those abortion laws in Northern Ireland. Now, of course, in most of Britain abortion is legal, but Northern Ireland, of course, is a unique case and so the British prime minister is now under pressure to do something about it.

The problem is that even though M.P.s in her own party are pressuring here, she's actually in a coalition with the Democratic Unionist Party and this is a very staunchly pro-life, anti-abortion party out of Northern Ireland. So she's going to find herself in a very tricky position, Alison.

KOSIK: OK, Atika, and obviously, a historic moment for Ireland. Thanks very much.

Amazing video from Paris. A man scaling a building to save a child dangling from a balcony -- incredible. The story is coming up next.


[05:53:10] KOSIK: And breaking overnight, new evacuations underway in Hawaii. Increased volcanic activity from Kilauea prompting officials to clear out new sections of Leilani Estates on the Big Island. One fissure producing lava fountains reaching as high as 200 feet.

CNN's Miguel Marquez is there.


MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Alison, Dave, this is Leilani Estates, that is fissure seven. This is the most active fissure in the 24 that are now erupting in this massive complex of volcanic activity in the lower southeastern rift of Kilauea.

What you're looking at down at the bottom of the road, that is hardened lava. This was a road that went through Leilani Estates. It is now blocked by 20-25 feet of lava and then it is fountaining above it. This is as impressive, as mesmerizing, and as terrifying as it gets.

One big problem that they have coming up is that the wind is about to change direction. It's been blowing toward less-populated areas and now it's going to start blowing toward Hilo and toward Puna, and that will cause problems for people breathing.

The island of Hawaii is a long way from through all this -- Dave, Alison.


KOSIK: All right, Miguel. Thank you.

Police in Wildwood, New Jersey launching an internal investigation after video emerged of a woman's violent arrest on the beach. Two officers are already on desk duty.

And I want to warn you some may find this video very tough to watch.





WEINMAN: (Screaming).


KOSIK: Oh, that's awful.

The clip showing one officer punching 20-year-old Emily Weinman in the head, then flipping her with his arm around her neck.

[05:55:06] Weinman was charged with two counts of aggravated assault on an officer and being a minor in possession of alcohol. reports Weinman detailed her side of the story in a now-removed Facebook post. Weinman apparently said she passed a breathalyzer test after admitting she had alcohol on the beach, but the situation escalated when she refused to give officers her name.

All right, let's get a check on "CNN Money" this morning.

U.S. markets are closed today for Memorial Day, giving investors a bit of a break from the recent volatility we've seen.

It was quite the bumpy ride last week, though.

Early on, stocks rallied after the U.S. and China appeared to put a trade war on hold, but after President Trump cast doubt on a deal, stocks tumbled. Uncertainty over North Korea and volatile crude oil prices also rattling markets.

This week, investors are looking ahead to Friday and that's when the labor market -- the Labor Department releases the May jobs reports. We're going to see if unemployment remains under four percent. In April, it hit 3.9 percent for the first time since 2000. Friday is also a very key trade deadline for U.S. allies. Tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from the E.U., Canada, and Mexico are scheduled to take effect. They were originally supposed to start a month ago but the Trump administration delayed them to try to negotiate final agreements.

Are you getting sticker shock when you fill up the tank? Well, you're not alone. Gas prices are up more than 30 percent from last Memorial Day.

The national average now sitting at $2.97 a gallon and that's the highest we've seen in four years, and it's even higher in some states.

The big reason for rising gas prices, a spike in oil prices. The U.S. exit from the Iran nuclear deal -- that helped to send crude prices higher. Major exporters like OPEC and Russia have cut production even as global demand is surging. So all of that is making that price move up on oil.

A hundred millions dollars -- yes, that's a solid opening for any film franchise that not's named "STAR WARS," meaning the estimated $101 million that the Disney Lucasfilm's "SOLO" took in over the weekend for its debut. That's considered a disappointment.

And while that is the biggest Memorial Day weekend debut in four years, the Hans Solo original film fell well short of box office expectations. So that makes "SOLO" the smallest opening for any film in the "STAR WARS" universe since 2002.

LeBron James reaching his eighth straight NBA finals after willing the Cleveland Cavaliers to an 87-79 game seven victory over the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals.

The four-time MVP pouring in 35 points, pulling down 15 rebounds, and adding nine assists while playing every minute of the game.

The Cavs are going to meet the winner of tonight's game seven Western Conference matchup between Houston and Golden State in the NBA Finals.

Redundancy, faulty capitalization, lack of clarity. Yvonne Mason, she's seen it all in her 17 years as an English teacher in South Carolina. But when the retired teacher received a letter with those deficiencies from none other than the White House, Mrs. Mason did not let it go -- she couldn't.

This is a photo of the White House letter with Mrs. Mason's corrections and her comments. Among them, capitalizing the word nation, federal, president, and state. Turning common nouns into proper nouns.

Feel like you're getting a lesson here? Me, too.

And at the bottom she writes "OMG, this is wrong."

Now to be clear here, the letter was signed by the president but was likely a form letter from a staffer. Mrs. Mason received the letter after writing to the president about

the Parkland High School shooting in February.

All right, this is amazing. In France, a young man being hailed a hero for rescuing a young child dangling from a fourth-floor balcony.

You can see 22-year-old Mamoudou Gassama, a migrant from Mali, scaling the outside of the building. And by the time emergency officials arrived, Mamoudou already pulled the child to safety.

French President Emmanuel Macron's office says Mamoudou will now receive French citizenship. He's already been offered a job by the Paris Fire Brigade. I say well worth it. He's certainly earned it.

All right, thanks for joining us on this Memorial Day. I'm Alison Kosik.

"NEW DAY" starts right now.